On Growing Faith

Hey, would you mind calling my phone? I can't find it. 

Herm had just returned from running a few errands in town and visiting a job site, Carson and Brooklyn in tow. I find his number in my favorites list--the only one listed there, because he is essentially the only one I call--and hit dial. The phone rings once, promptly going to voicemail.

Either the phone is turned off, or someone has found it and would like to keep it off.

Losing a phone is an awful feeling. I lost mine once in Chicago, a few years back. I set it down on a park bench as I stooped to fix Carson's shoe. We walked nearly two miles before I discovered my mistake. Herm called my phone multiple times as we back-tracked the Magnificent Mile, praying we would find it, but knowing we surely wouldn't. In a city of nearly three million, what are the odds a brand new iPhone would still be nestled on the park bench? It was maybe the fourth or seventh or eleven call, I don't remember exactly, when someone answered. Hello?

You have my wife's phone, Herm told the stranger. 

I saw it on a park bench, and was going to just leave it there, but then I realized that someone will be looking for this phone. I couldn't access the contacts because of the lock, but I knew someone would call. I'm in town to see The Grateful Dead. 

The kind stranger gave us his location. After a few more miles of walking, as we neared the area, a grungy man and his girlfriend, both dressed in black, his tee shirt boasting their love of The Grateful Dead, came over. This has got to be yours, he said, pointing at the phone, its screen displayed a photo of Herm, Carson and I.

I tried to press a crisp $20 bill into his hand, it wasn't nearly enough to show my gratitude. He wouldn't take the cash. Pay it forward, he told me.

Two weeks later, I was driving to the mall when I noticed what looked like a phone, laying on the road. I couldn't keep going, pretending I didn't see. I pulled off to the side, and ran back to the intersection. Sure enough, the screen was locked and badly broken. But still, it worked! I tucked the phone into my pocket, knowing this was my chance to pay it forward. A few hours later, after I got the rich privilege of reading a very colorful, one-sided conversation, the owner of the phone called. I answered, and though I wanted to tell him that maybe it would be better not picking up the phone, with its mounting drama, we agreed that I would take it to the service desk of Target. He could pick it up there.

If I were to lose my phone, I am not sure how I would get through folding laundry and washing floors. Podcasts help lessen the repetitiveness of house-work. I would survive however, and life would go on. But for Herm, his phone is a tool he uses for work. Being without one isn't an option.

He made a few phone calls to the businesses he had been to, then went back to physically retrace his steps.

Meanwhile I gathered Carson and Brooklyn, explaining that we were going to pray that Herm would find his phone.

Mom, but will Jesus actually help? asked Carson, my inquisitive child. Lately he's been asking me a lot of questions on matters of faith. How a five year old make me feel so inadequate and uneducated, I don't know. But his questions often stump me.

Well, I stuttered for a reply, if He feels like it, I suppose....

Oh ye of little faith.

Was that the Spirit I heard whisper in my ear? Okay then, I retort back, I will change my answer under one condition: You don't turn me into a liar!

Yes Carson, Jesus will make sure that your dad finds his phone. I wanted to cross my fingers behind my back, like I did when I was seven and didn't want my conscious seared for telling a little white lie. But, like a grown-up with faith the size of a mustard seed, I left them uncrossed, hands in front of me.

An hour later Herm returned.

Did you find your phone? I ask.

He begins to tell me the story, of how he stopped at every business he had visited earlier. No one had seen it. He goes back to the job site, its not there. In a last ditch-effort, he begins to shovel snow around the spot where he had parked his truck to unload some supplies. He threw each shovel full of snow up into the air, figuring that if the phone had dropped into the snow, he would notice it flying through the air. (And break it, I want to smartly state. But silence is a virtue, right?)
He threw one last shovel-full of snow into the blue sky, and began to walk away when he realize that he had heard something had hit the ground. What was that sound? There, buried back in the snow after a joy-ride on a shovel, a glint of silver caught his eye. His phone, dead from the cold, and not broken from the jostling, was found.

You better tell you kids, I laugh. They prayed over this phone.

It built my faith, if not theirs. And now, every night since, Carson has something he needs prayer for: a scraped elbow, a runny nose, a broken toe-nail.

Raising kids is building my faith. Yes, I can confidently state, Jesus will answer our prayers.
No fingers crossed.


  1. I love this story! Nothing like that nudge of conviction from the Lord as we're teaching our kiddos, and learning just as much along with them.

    1. I feel like I am one of those people who constantly needs to be reminded of His faithfulness. (Maybe we all are?) My kids really do help grow my own faith.